[the poetry billboard] - 'At The Vortex's Edge' by Ruth Schuler
At The Vortex's Edge

Ruth Schuler

The old salt stood on the forecastle
listening to the symphony of the sea –
Waves, wind and distant thunder,
a rhapsody everlasting, shattered only by
the intrusion of ship bells and foghorns.
The sea spray splattered its perfume,
and the ancient seaman inhaled,
before lifting his eyes
to the countless constellations
sparkling beneath night’s umbrella.
Waves of pain tightened his bronzed face,
for today one of his mates had been lowered
to fertilize the garden of the sea,
his remains uniting with the coral,
sea urchins, sharks’ bones, algae, seaweed
and colonnades of sunken ships.
A sudden black quall tore at the riggings,
then the currents of the cosmos
blasted the clipper ship.
Home was far away, but the sailor put on
a cloak of courage, manned the wheel,
and turned right toward that mysterious realm,
knowing freedom resides forever in the heart
               of all sea warriors.